While many businesses are closed during the coronavirus pandemic, auto mechanics are considered essential personnel, so if you need to get your car fixed, you still can.
Making an appointment to get one’s car fixed, however, has changed to some extent during these unusual times. Here are some suggestions when looking to get a car repaired:
It’s not recommended to just show up with your car right now. It’s a good idea to call or book online first, so you limit the personal contact, and lower your risk of getting infected, or infecting someone else. For many shops, booking online is the most efficient way.
“We are encouraging people to go online and make an appointment,” said Greg Russ, vice president of service for Pep Boys, which has about 60 stores in the Delaware Valley. “We are not requiring it, but certainly encouraging it.”
Can I wait for my car?
It depends. Some won’t let you wait, because of social distancing measures, so you’ll have to drop off your car and go back later. Others still do allow it.
One mechanic who doesn’t allow it is Joe Creighton of Creighton’s Auto in Newtown, Bucks County. “We do a key drop and they can pay with a credit card and pick it up when it is fixed,” he said. “We are being safe by wiping down interiors, wearing gloves. We don’t allow anybody to wait for their car.”
How do I get home?
In most cases, you’ll have to find your own transportation home, so you’ll have to plan accordingly when dropping off a car. Ride-share and transit systems are operating, if necessary, or if you can, put your bike in the car and bike home. But this may be a time to check out body shops that are close to home, so you can walk back.
Can I drop off (or pick up) my car when the store is closed?
If you’re an essential worker, it may be difficult to drop a car off during store hours, so this is good to know whether this option is available. And many businesses are operating on different-than-normal business hours, so it’s important to ask first.
Will my car be disinfected after the work is done?
Every business that The Inquirer talked to said that this was something done with every car. But it never hurts to ask, and it never hurts to thoroughly wipe down surfaces — such as your steering wheel, door handle, and other high-touch surfaces — before you drive again.
What if I need an inspection?
There are many mechanics who will still perform inspections. But keep in mind that states have been giving extensions for inspections because of the pandemic. For instance in New Jersey, inspection stickers ending in March, April, or May have received a two-month extension.
Do any mechanics make house calls?
Yes. If you are wary of going out in these times, there are mechanics that will go to your home and do the work.
Yourmechanic.com president and CEO Anthony Rodio said the service tries to get a mechanic to your house within two days, depending on what work is needed. Call around and see what your best options are.